Q: A brother had left some boxes of stock at my premises and he requested me to deliver the stock to his suppliers since he wanted to return the stock to them. We attempted to deliver the stock back to his suppliers but was unsuccessful as the suppliers were not helpful and did not accept the delivery. The stock was then brought back and kept at my premises. All of this was told to the brother.
My premises has a main gate in the front which is always kept locked besides the time when there is a need to open and close the gate. After entering the premises through the main front gate, you have to pass through the yard to then enter the building which has another small gate that is locked in the nights. Most of the time in the day its left unlocked. As you enter the building there is a staircase that goes to the first and second floor. We reside on the first floor and the second floor is rented to Muslim tenants. His stock was kept on the ground floor underneath the stair case.
For a number of months more than a year I have always requested the brother to please arrange to collect his stock. Even sometimes he used to visit me but he never used to take his stock with him although I had asked him to. Recently he came to my premises to collect his stock and we found that the boxes were empty meaning someone must have stolen the contents inside of the box and left the empty boxes there. Where his stock was kept, I had also stored many of my own belongings and valuables and after we discovered his stock had gone missing, I started realising some of my things had also disappeared.
Now during all of this time, there were many people that has access the where the stock was stored such as workers, welders who worked at the premises, etc…
Please advise if I will be responsible in any way for this stock getting stolen. The brother did not ask me for any compensation for the stock but I just want to know in terms of Sharia whether there is any obligation from my side.
A: If you were not negligent in taking care of the stock then you are not responsible.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)